Prospects for DOD to Avoid a Continuing Resolution Begin to Dim
Bywretdrjj— — Posted in
Dan Cohen AUTHOR It still is possible for Congress to pass both fiscal 2017 spending bills that allocate funding for DOD programs before the end of the fiscal year, but with the window fast closing for lawmakers to complete their work, the Pentagon may be forced to operate under a continuing resolution (CR) starting Oct. 1.The military construction-veterans affairs title is the only spending measure that has cleared both chambers and advanced to a conference committee. But after the House approved the compromise version on a party-line vote, the Senate last week blocked the conference agreement from advancing over Democratic opposition to the portion of the legislation providing emergency funding to address the Zika virus.So far, Senate Democrats have indicated they are not prepared to accept the spending package due to its inadequate level of funding to combat Zika, the spending cuts Republicans used to offset the Zika money and policy provisions they deemed “poison pills.”The Senate possibly could consider and approve the defense spending bill before Congress adjourns July 15 for a seven-week recess. If so, there could be time for the two chambers to reconcile their differences before Oct. 1; the House passed its defense spending bill June 16.Still, to avert a government shutdown, Congress may need to resort to a CR for one or both defense bills, and most of the other spending titles as well. At this point, GOP leaders have not addressed how long a stopgap would last. Some Republicans — and many Democrats — hope to pass a short-term stopgap giving lawmakers until December to craft a year-end omnibus that could be passed during a lame-duck session, reported CQ Roll Call.Other Republicans, though, want a CR to last until next spring to allow the new president an opportunity to weigh in on FY 2017 spending. Another possibility is passing a full-year CR and avoiding any more spending decisions for FY 2017.